Doctrine

The Illusions of Leadership

I was in worship, and in a moment of time the Lord showed me a vision depicting the spiritual state of much of the leadership in the contemporary church. Later, He said to me, ‘I am breaking the illusion.’

I stood on a cliff, high, but not at the top of a great mountain, and saw a vast plain before the sea. Far below was the leadership of the church, at ground level, with a scant few on small hills. They looked out to sea, and seemed unaware of the mountain at their backs. They had neither the courage to go into the deep, nor the awareness to climb the heights, but they stood there, some in smug satisfaction with where they stood.

The awful truth, hidden under many layers of pious phraseology, shallow theology, and a great many convincing but learned behaviors which can create an image of maturity, is that much of the leadership of the church has not matured, has not been delivered, and is not purified from many of the sinful influences of the world. Some of these influences are so pervasive, so subtle, that we are not only able to discern them for what they are, but we even embrace and defend them as inherent to our culture, character, temperament, or whatever ‘necessities’ we may conjure up to excuse ourselves from the inconvenient burdens of a guilty conscience.

God is again calling us to examine ourselves. We are often unable to adequately address the issues of our time and our culture because we are on the same level as the culture itself. We have not launched away from it into the depths, nor have we risen above it, and we are usually unaware that we are more submitted to culture than to Christ. There is a deeper repentance needed, so that we will realize where we have been, and that it is low. There is a further purification necessary to be able to address the culture from a heart uncluttered by that culture and unfettered by carnality.

Arise, repent, and be purified, so that you can become who God intended you to be. A lost and broken world awaits you.

Healing a Nation Requires Depth

Deep calls to deep at the sound of Your waterfalls; All Your breakers and Your waves have rolled over me

Psalm 42:7

If you have ever been under a waterfall, you know for certain that you will surely get drenched. I’ve never stood under a waterfall, but I know a bit about waves. Many years ago, during a summer in California, I spent the day on the beach at Corona Del Mar. While I stood on the shore, a little boy started talking to me. I can’t remember what he had asked me, but I’ll never forget what happened next. As I stood there with my back to the ocean, that little boy’s eyes grew wide with fear as he backed away. Then I noticed that the sand at my feet seemed darked. It was only very slight, but there it was: the shadow of a huge wave that was cresting behind me.

I made the mistake of turning to see it, and the last thing I saw before I was driven to my knees was the massive curl of the wave above me. I was a powerlifter, freakishly strong, but even as I braced myself for the impact, I was completely powerless before the tremendous weight of the water as it clobbered me. When it passed, not only was I on my hands and knees, but I’d been driven sveral inches into the sand by the impact.

And here we are, leading God’s people when we ourselves have not truly been ovewhelmed and overpowered by the sovereign grace of God. We preach about it, we expound it so well within our neat and tidy theological frameworks, but is it evident in our lives? Have we truly been stripped of the sovereignty of our self will, are we truly so drenched in His grace that everything we touch gets wet?

The reason church leaders have been largely unable to heal the deeper wounds of our culture is that they lack the inner spiritual depth to even properly diagnose the root causes thereof. A further consequence of this lack of depth is a lack of the authentic love for God, His people, and the nation to even be trusted the kind genuine apostolic authority needed to break the spiritual strongholds that have made these issues so prevalent even within the churches themselves.

The Lord has had my focus on the issue of depth the last few days, and He has been highlighting to my that this lack of depth is pervasive throught church leadership. Not surprisingly, we reproduce our depth, or lack thereof in others.

I ask not how far you’re willing to go in God, as we are usually quick to make pious declarations of this, and usually it’s a combination of well-meant wishful thinking and presumptuous virtue-signalling rarely backed in our actions. Neither am I asking you to do more, or even to do anything at all.

Rather I ask, how far has God gone in you? How far are you willing to be swept away by His sovereignty, that He would mold you into precisely what He intended you to be?

Can you really surrender it all?

A Word on Giving

Now regarding your question about the money being collected for God’s people in Jerusalem. You should follow the same procedure I gave to the churches in Galatia.. On the first day of each week, you should each put aside a portion of the money you have earned. Don’t wait until I get there and then try to collect it all at once.. When I come, I will write letters of recommendation for the messengers you choose to deliver your gift to Jerusalem. And if it seems appropriate for me to go along, they can travel with me.

1 Corinthians 16:1-4

If we understand this and other scriptures on the subject of giving, there are 6 essential components to Scriptural giving.

  • Thoughtful, and therefore intentional Paul instructed the churches to plan their giving. This prevented hastiness and the ensuing lack of order that poor planning creates, so that giving was orderly, and the funds were ready to be used appropriately. We ought to consider what our intention is in giving. What prayers, hopes, and motives accompany it? What needs are we addressing? Do we see it as an act of worship toward God as we support the work of His ministry?
  • Accountable We should also note that Paul also thought it best for the funds to be delivered by people from that church., which ensured that a full accounting could be made for the funds and how they were used. As a very wise man once said, a clean conscience has no fear of accountability.
  • Proportionate Paul tells the church to set aside a portion of the money they have earned, not all of it. While there may be times people can make a sacrifice, Biblical examples of such are always voluntary (Luke 21-1-4, e.g.). Therefore, we should comprehend that giving should be in proportion to our ability (Deut. 2:7, 2 Cor. 8:11, e.g.).
  • Prayerful If giving is part of our worship, then it ought to be approached prayerfully, that the Holy Spirit wold guide us, and that we remain mindful of needs we may be able to help meet. This is also to safeguard our motives in giving, that it be done with a pure heart. Remember, the sacrifice of the wicked is abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 15:8).
  • Cheerful Each person should do as he has decided in his heart — not reluctantly or out of compulsion, since God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work . (2 Cor. 9:7-8, CSB) This doesn’t mean we should try to be happy about our giving, but rather that we should give as we are able so that we can be cheerful about it. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. In this Scripture we can see God’s graciousness to us even in our responsibility to give, that He doesn’t desire to lay heavy burdens upon us, but intends for us to have joy in giving as we grow in grace and ability.
  • Responsible Givers should be informed about the characteristics, motivations, capacity, aspirations and needs of the organisations they are giving to. They should consider the impact that their giving will have and the outcome it is meant to achieve, and pray that grace is given for the funds to be used wisely and well.

You can support this ministry at https://www.paypal.me/riftchurch

Is it really privilege?

I can choose to resent someone else for having a good childhood and loving parents if I see that as some form of privilege.

I can also recognize that I was raised by monsters and no one else should feel guilty that they weren’t.

Much of what we are being conditioned to believe is privilege are the way things would and should be if one or more involved parties were not dynfunctional, ignorant, misguided, evil, stupid, or some combination thereof.

Regardless of what’s happened to me, it’s still my responsibility to get my house in order.

Throw out your race card

Go ye therefore, and teach ALL NATIONs…


One of the biggest lies you will ever believe in your life is that you are part of an ‘experience’ unique to your culture that no one outside that culture could ever understand or could ever be qualified to address. Jesus sent a bunch of Jewish guys to evangelize the world.

Paul went to the Greeks and Romans. Thomas went to India, and to this day, missionaries are sent by God to speak truth to people who don’t look like them.
You don’t have a black experience, a white experience, a Latin experience, an asian experience… What DO you have, then?

The ‘I got hoodwinked by satan’ experience, of which we have all been partakers. No matter what your culture, the root of every problem you face is SIN. There is good, and evil, the holy and the profane, the unclean and the clean. Everything we think is unique because of culture is just window dressing. Whether the poisoned ice cream you eat is vanilla, chocolate, or rocky road, it’s not the flavor that’s going to kill you, is it?

The cure is always the same. There is no remedy unique to your ‘experience.’
The answer is always Christ, and Him crucified.

Part of the hustle is fooling you into believing that your experience is SO unique, and this deception gives you a compelling excuse to reject any truth that isn’t validated by your particular race card. This keeps us confused, bound, divided, and easy to control by those who would capitalize on this bondage.

Are you ready to break free?

Are we really walking in victory?

Many times we speak of walking in victory, and we give this many meanings, some, maybe most of which, are meaningful and pertinent to our faith journey. However, in the greater context of our life’s purpose — the real reason we even exist– the truth is that many of us have not experienced victory at all. Here’s why.
Imagine, for a moment, a battalion of soldiers. They’re trained, armed to the teeth, and ready to rumble. They have a good supply line, air support, and plenty of ammo. However, there’s just one little problem: they have no idea who they’re supposed to fight, where to fight, or even what the overall mission objective is.
Even the thought of such a thing seems absurd, doesn’t it?
Yet all too often we find ourselves mostly wandering without a whole lot of direction, and so many of us have no clear idea of what our life’s mission really is. The Barna Group found that 90% of professed born-again Christians admit that they are either carnal or a babe in Christ. Now, we know from Romans 8 that to be carnal is to be enemies with God, and therefore of little to no use in the great fight of the faith, and who in their right mind would trust a baby to get anything important done?
If we don’t know what the mission is, how can we accomplish it?
If we are not engaged in and fulfilling our mission, are we really winning our part of the spiritual war of the faith? The answer is a rather obvious ‘No.’
Therefore, long-term victory requires us to know our mission, prepare for it, and engage in it with the aim of completing it. Now, this isn’t a condemnation, but rather an observation which hopes to awaken the saints to the reality that perhaps we ought to be more interested in the specifics of our purpose here.
What is YOUR mission?
WHO has God called you to, and where?
Why does it matter?
If you can’t answer these questions, don’t beat yourself up about it. Understand that now you have some specific direction for your prayer life and study of the Word for the next little while.
I challenge you to start seeking God about these questions.
He has answers waiting for you.

Pick up your cross

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23)

What does it really mean to take up your cross?

At the time Jesus said this, if you saw a man carrying a cross out of town, you knew one thing for certain: he wasn’t coming back. Likewise, if we are to take up our cross, the man you were, the man you would be without Christ, that man your flesh wants you to be, must DIE.

This is not an option. It is not some ‘level’ of maturity or of special status in the kingdom, but rather it is the minimum requirement to follow Christ.. and it is good.

There are two kinds of people: those who are dead in sin, and those who are dead to sin. Which will you be today?

Why we don’t need to ask for an Open Heaven

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
 
I never need to ask for an open heaven because the Veil of the Temple was torn when Christ died. I am The temple of the Living God, and heaven is already open for me, not because I asked, nor because I somehow deserved it, but because the Blood of Jesus has made it so.
 
Nor do I live by my own faith. God forbid, for my own faith would fail many times over before I could finish my journey. Indeed, I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. This is why I can do all things in Christ. He promised that HIS grace would be enough, and it is.
 
He loved YOU.
He gave Himself for YOU.
He put His Spirit in YOU.
 
Every prayer you could ever set before the Father has already been answered at Calvary.

Faith vs. Presumption

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Hebrews 11:16)

What do you really believe about God?

An honest answer to that question will tell you a great deal about where your faith is and it will also reveal the ‘why’ behind so much of your life and how you’ve handled it.For many of us, our perception of God becomes distorted or even corrupted by negative experiences because somewhere along the line we began to believe that faith means believing that God has to give us whatever we want.

Everything about the life of the believer comes through and by Christ, and so we must understand that if Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2), God is only obligated to finish what He started. For so many of us, resolving a crisis of faith must begin with recognizing where we have exercised faith and where we have simply walked in presumption.

Once you can recognize the difference, frustration, confusion, despair, and every other thing that comes with a troubled faith walk must flee.

Are YOU willing today to own up to where you didn’t believe, but just presumed?

It’s not just about you.

But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
 
Paul made sure to exert careful discipline in his own life so that he could never become a scandal to those who followed him. Understand this, little flock: your walk is never just about you. Just as your courage in your daily warfare may inspire others, so also might your cowardice cause others to succumb to the enemy’s wiles.
 
Today, I beseech you, brethren to stand firm in the face of whatever warfare comes your way.
 
Stand for Christ.
 
Stand for yourselves.
 
Stand for your families.
 
 
Stand for the brethren.
 
Stand for the souls who quietly watch you to see who your God really is.
 
Stand.

Does God want you to prosper?

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (3 John 1:2)
 
It is God’s will for you to prosper! This doesn’t necessarily mean you will be rich, but it does mean that you will have more than enough. Now, there are some seasons in which we may endure hardship, and others may do so for a lifetime for the kingdom’s sake, but nevertheless, there should be some kind of success in your life, though this verse is greatly misunderstood.
 
We must remember that this was written by a fisherman in the 1st century AD in a world that hadn’t yet been overtaken by our postmodern, western sensibilities with regard to the meaning of prosperity. To prosper was to succeed at and flourish in what you were doing: to a fisherman, this meant catching enough fish to meet his needs and live comfortably. For a farmer, it meant good harvests. It didn’t necessarily mean the fisherman or famer would become rich. It DID mean they’d have more than enough.
 
Does God bless people? YES, and I certainly hope He blesses you greatly, both with finances and the good sense and wisdom to use His blessings to benefit the kingdom.
 
This said, let us address the last 5 words of this verse, ‘even as thy soul prospereth.’ The priority is for your soul to prosper. Are you growing? Are you becoming like Christ? Do you even know your kingdom mission, and are you presently able to undertake it? Your blessing is found in that Promised Land called Your Purpose, and with the blessing of God comes the responsibility of stewardship. God will no more entrust the immature saint with the stewardship of great blessings than a good parent would trust their five year old to drive a Lamborghini.
 
Even the greatest of God’s blessings in this life are but for a moment in the light of Eternity, but you are a Son forever, and this ought to be our priority: growth in our Sonship. Let God deal with you. Let Him mold you. Let Him grow you. No detail of your life escapes His intention, and no concern of yours is too great or small for His grace. Remember, the Blessing of Abraham is your birthright in Christ, and to Abraham He said, ‘You shall BE a blessing.’ Let God prosper your soul, and the rest MUST follow in due course.
 
Yes, it IS God will for you to be blessed. It is His will for you to have more than enough, but it is His higher priority for you to become more than enough.

God made you a SON!

So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:7, ESV)

So often we get caught up in gifts, callings, ministries, and so much more, and we start to think that our gift or our ministry is our identity. When me mistake our calling for our identity, we call into the trap of working in that calling as a way of relating to or pleasing God. However, the truth is that no matter what your calling, that is your JOB, not your identity.

Whether I am a doctor, a plumber, a carpenter, or even a criminal, I would still be my father’s son. Likewise, your identity in the kingdom isn’t apostle, prophet, evangelist, etc., but it is SON. You might be a prophet for life, but you are a SON for eternity!

If you are a son, then you are no one’s slave. You are the heir! The promises of God are YOURS because He loves you. His favor is YOURS because He loves you. Everything Christ has, and everything Christ is, is YOURS, because you are a SON!

Shall we then neglect our calling? God forbid. Rather, our kingdom activity should be the fruit of our identity.

Do you want clarity in your calling?
Do you need direction for your ministry?
Do you need a breakthrough?

These things are already yours in Christ, because He made you a SON!

Therefore, let us focus on being the Sons of God.

When I was a little boy, I rarely asked my father for anything, and this puzzled him. The truth was that it didn’t occur to me to ask him for things for two reasons: I trusted him, and it was enough for me to simply be around him.

As a grown man, my father told me of all his children I’d honored him the most, and had been the greatest blessing to him.

Do you want to honor God, and be a blessing in His kingdom? Spend time with Him simply for the sake of fellowship. You may be surprised just how much He will reveal to you when you seek His face and not His hand.

Every answer to prayer, every breakthrough, every healing, every deliverance was already accomplished at Calvary. Allow God to grow you as a son, and these other things will be added to you.

Why you don’t get the prophecies you hoped for

Can God deliver someone against their own will?

Is it possible for someone to be delivered against their own will? So many preachers today will tell you that God is a gentleman, and that therefore He will not override someone’s will. Let’s find out if that’s true.

Want to plant a church?

If you are thinking to plant a church, think instead to plant a community rather than an institution. When Jesus addressed the churches in Revelation, he addressed them as communities by city, as a people, and not as an organization.
 
Christian leaders tend to create institutions because the primary driving force of their church plant is the fulfillment of a vision that revolves around their own life and ministry rather than around the life of Christ. Leaders, YOUR vision isn’t enough. YOUR anointing isn’t enough.
 
Man-centered ministry is the reason you can see a man raise up a church of 30,000 but almost never produce one member that is his equal, never mind one who can go on to greater works. Some of your sons, at least, ought to outdo you.
 
Abraham was given the Promise,
Isaac was the progenitor of the specific bloodline for the Promise.
Yet it was Jacob who became Israel, and the nation promise to Abraham is named after him. Wait. What?
 
That’s right. God promised Abraham a nation, but named it after his grandson.
 
Israel fathered the nation, but his sons populated it.
 
Judah received the prophetic word about kingship, but it was David that established that Kingdom.
 
David established its borders, but Solomon built its magnificence to the point that ancient writings in Tibet speak of the splendor of Solomon. Even so, the Seal of Solomon to this day is called the Star of David.
 
For all his splendor and wisdom, even Solomon did not get to complete the Promise.
 
The Promise was ultimately fulfilled in Christ alone. Remember what Galatians 3:13-14 says:
 
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
 
So we see that fathers receive most of their honor through their sons, not through their own lives. If this is not proof enough, consider this:
 
 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
 
Even the very ministry and Lordship of Jesus is for the glory of His Father, and I am sure Abraham isn’t upset that Jesus fulfilled the Promise God made so long ago.
 

Why Prophets are wrong so often


 

Have you ever wondered why it is that so many prophets are so wrong, so much of the time? Over the years I have found that there are several major reasons why this is so.

  • They don’t wait for clarity.
  • They misunderstand and misconstrue what God is showing them.
  • They can’t tell between divine revelation, their own imagination, and demonic revelation.
  • They prophesy by unclean spirits.
  • They lie outright.

Does tithing connect you to your covenant?

Preachers, so many of you are going to go to hell for scaring people into mandatory income tithing with threats of curses.
 
Tithing under the law was expressly commanded to Israel as 1/10 of the agricultural production of the land. This is why God calls it ‘the tithe of the land.’ It was never based on income or wages. Only those who owned land and livestock tithed. There were plenty of non-farmers living at that time, including bankers, jewelers, weavers, stoneworkers, and carpenters. Our Savior was a carpenter.
 
Another interesting detail the preaches love to leave out is that the tithe was given to the priests only twice every seven years. In the 7th year, there was no crop production, so the only tithe was of animals. In the other 4 years the people were commanded to eat the tithe crops, or to sell them and then spend the money ON THEMSELVES. (See Deut 14:26)
 
We are to give generously, give cheerfully, but let no man manipulate you into works of the Law that were never commanded anywhere in the New Testament, nor is there any evidence in the first 600+ years of church history of any church body teaching mandatory income tithing. The tradition of income tithing began in 680 AD when the Roman government instituted it as a tax for their state-controlled church.
 
The New Testament writings do not teach it.
 
The early apostles and church fathers did not teach it. Not one of the thousands of primary source historical documents we have from those who lead the church in all those centuries gives us any evidence at all that the church ever taught it up until the paganized Roman church forced it on everyone in the empire.
 
When the threats of curses do not, work, many preachers then resort to two doctrines to support mandatory income tithing:
 
The first is that Abraham tithed to Melchizedek, and this means we ought to tithe. This is very poor theology, since Abraham did this only ONCE, he did so VOLUNTARILY and NOT by commandment, and it was from property taken in a war. It is extremely poor theology to use a one-time voluntary act to teach people they must tithe from their income.
 
The second lie that is relied upon is the false promise that tithing connects you to your covenant.
 
This is BLASPHEMY. Why?
 
2 Corinthians 5:5 tells us:
 
Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.
 
A pledge is a deposit. The KJV says the ‘earnest of the Spirit.’ When I first made an offer on my house, I was required to submit with that offer $500 as an earnest money deposit. That deposit is credited toward the purchase of the house, and is called the ‘earnest money,’ because it is the evidence, the proof, that I was in earnest – serious and committed – about buying the house. It was the sign that I was serious about going through with the purchase.
 
Similarly, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is God’s deposit on our life, the promise that He will complete what He has begun.
 
THAT is what connects you to your covenant written in the Blood of Christ, not your money.

God’s MIGHTIEST Prophet? Really?

Mastering the Art of Prophetic Disclosure

It’s not enough to have heard or otherwise perceived something prophetically. We must also know when to diclose what God has revealed, to whom it is to be disclosed, and how that disclosure is to take place.

Why YOU aren’t Prospering


 

 
Have you ever wondered why it is so many prophets try to convince you that they key to your prosperity it giving THEM money, yet year after year, decade after decade the saints stay broke? Let’s discus the REAL reasons why you’re not prospering the way you could be, and how to turn that around NOW.

Judges 1 – The Pursuit of YOUR Calling


Judges 1 tells us alot about God’s relationship with His people and the pursuit of His calling for your life.

Don’t let anyone take your crown!

Judges 13: Preparing to Walk in Your Vision

Stop chasing prophecies!

God never intended for you to be chasing after a prophetic word every day. This insatiable addiction to prophecy I’ve seen in churches and in Facebook groups is not from God, and it renders people highly susceptible to seduction by the familiar spirits that some ‘prophets’ move in.
To some extent this happens because the leadership of the segment of the church which believes in the prophetic has created a dependency which gives the prophet an idolatrous place in the life of the believer.

Feeling discouraged and need a boost? In 1 Samuel 30, when David and his men returned to Ziklag to find that the enemy had burned their homes and taken their families captive, his men started talking about stoning him, because they clearly blamed him for being away from home when the enemies came. He didn’t go looking for a prophet to comfort or encourage him:

 

And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (1 Sam. 30:6)

Later in the chapter, he DOES inquire of the Lord for himself, not for encouragement, but for direction. He then takes his men and goes after the enemy. The recover EVERYTHING, and take additional spoils. David then uses his share of the spoils to send gifts to the leaders of Israel in the towns and cities David frequented.
What can we learn from this? The answer to your need for encouragement isn’t always in some prophet, but often in your own mouth, and when you ACT on the word of the Lord, God will position you not just for restoration, but for promotion, IF we ACT, and then use the fruit of our action to bless OTHERS.
When David sent those gifts, it wasn’t just about their inherent value. It also made a statement: I’m your king, I fight OUR enemies, and when I do, I do it for YOU, too… that even when David was fighting for his family and the families of his men, he still thought of the rest of Israel and its leaders. This communicated to them that they could trust David to think of them, even when handling his own personal business.
Are you called to leadership? Stop chasing prophecies, and ACT on the prophetic words you’ve been given already. God and his prophets will still have more to say.

Romans 9 – The Sovereign Grace of God in Christ

Grace isn’t just forgiveness and forbearance, it is the divine influence which is intended to bring the Lordship of God into our life. You don’t have to live in defeat, because Christ provided not only forgiveness, but the power to become the sons of God. Let’s talk.

 

Romans 8 – Free from the Law of Sin and Death!

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (Romans 8:1-2)

What does it really mean to have been made free from the Law of sin and death? What does this imply for us as believers? Should our life consist of continual defeat and sin, or continual victory? Let’s discuss how Jesus Christ made victory possible, probably, even inevitable to those who surrender their life to God through Him.

Romans 7 – The MYTH of the Dual Nature

For so long, many of us in the church have been taught that we have a dual nature, and that we just can’t stop sinning. Usually, Romans 7 is cited as the ‘proof’ of this, when, in fact, Romans 7 describes live WITHOUT JESUS CHRIST. How do we know this? Romans 8 goes on to tell us that we’ve been freed from the law of sin and death described in Romans 7. Let’s talk!

Prophets, Awake! A Word for Prophets who really want to be used by God

In this age of prophelying and guessifying charlatans, there are some who really want to be a mouthpiece of the True and Living God. This message is for them.

 

Leaders, know your history! Is your culture your REAL God?

Many of us in the faith fail to realize that much of how we practice our faith has more to do with our culture than with anything God said, and very often some or a lot of it is even contrary to God’s will. Let’s talk about culture!

 

My simple approach to Bible study for Spiritual Growth

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

One of the essentials of the faith is the study of the word. Why? Here are some of the benefits:

1. When we know the word, we are better able to distinguish the true from the false, the unclean from the clean. While some of this responsibiliy rests upon the shoulders of leaders who must teach God’s people (Ezekiel 44:23), it is clear we also need to study the Word for ourselves.

2. By knowing the word, we get to know God as HE has presented Himself, as opposed to knowing Him based on our own perceptions, opinions, biases, cultural influences, and traditions of men we were taught. Without this, it becomes very easy to be deceived by false prophets, false teachers, and false brethren.

3. It will become easier to hear from God clearly, because when you come to know the Word, you come to know Him, His nature, His character, how He speaks and what He does and doesn’t do.

4. Your prayer life and faith faith walk will have a firm foundation of knowing God as He really is, and this is crucial in times of trouble trial, persecution and sorrow.

5. You will be better equipped to communicate the gospel to others, and more useful to the Kingdom, as you can function from a position of knowledge instead of ignorance.

Now, before we go any further, I’d like to say don’t stress out over what books, materials concordances or whatever you’re going to need. Start simple. Many years ago a young man asked a great golf pro for advice on how to play like him. It’s said the golf camp asked for paper and a pencil. On it he wrote:

Buy a set of golf clubs.

Play some golf.

I admonish you likewise not to overcomplicate it. That having been said, I’ll share with you my own approach to studying the word, which you may find useful, and you may develop your own over time.

Relaxed, but reverent reading.

This isn’t any formal study, with notebooks and concordances and commentaries. Just read the word for its own sake, with no agenda. However, read it with the expectation that God is going to speak to you through the scriptures, and He WILL. One of the greatest revelations I ever received was the day I’d bought a new Bible and decided to read whatever turned up on the page the ribbon was on. It was Ezekiel 44:23.

There are also times when I’ll just pick it up and read it just for the sake of reading it. Relax, pick a book, and just read!

For the remaining approaches to the Bible below, it is best to approach studying purposefully. In these cases, set aside specific time for it so that it has your full attention free of distractions and interruptions if at all possible. It may be helpful to keep handy:

1. A reliable pen, preferably two.

2. Some kind of notebook, whatever you’re comfortable with

3. Something to hold pages with. I use little sticky tabs if it’s a detailed study so that I can go back and forth between passages if I need to, but just use whatever you’re comfortable with.

4. A concordance, or, if you prefer, a computer/tablet/phone with internet access for using sites like Biblegateway.com, or GodRules.net (which has Strong’s Concordance numbers you can click on). This way you can see the direct definitions of the Hebrew/Greek words used and gain further insight on specific Scriptures whenever the meaning seems unclear.

Yes, at the end of the day, God does give revelation, but at the same time He does intend for us to search things out. After all, Proverbs 25:2 tells us that it is the glory of God to conceal a thing, and the honor of kings to search it out.

Bible Versions

I use the King James Version of the Bible, since it is the only version which can stand up to the test of the Dead Sea Scrolls. For example, the KJV Book of Isaiah matches the 2200 year old Isaiah Scroll word for word. The NIV, for example has deleted over 60,000 words… enough to fill a 200 page book.

I can’t tell you which Bible to use, but I can tell you that the NIV is missing 200 pages. Another book its publisher produced is ‘The Joy of Gay Sex.’ I’ll let you decide whether such a publisher can be trusted to produce a faithful rendition of Scripture.

Other versions tone down the language when dealing with sin, or delete the word CHRIST from numerous passages. One thing to bear in mind when dealing with Bible versions is that most Bible publishers are not believers, so choose carefully.

 

Getting to know Jesus… and what He’s called you to do.

Back in 1997 the Lord led me to read and re-read the gospels for about a week. Some days I slept less than two hours, because I just HAD to get back to it. It was during this time that he revealed to me the specific call on my life, and through this repeated reading of the Gospels I began to see that the character of Jesus was in many ways different from what I’d been taught.

Because of this, I reccomend highly reading through the gospels several times before studying a particular epistle, or other book of the Bible. Even though we ‘know’ the Scriptures all point to Christ, sometimes our mind has a tendency to compartmentalize different parts of scripture, and this particular approach keeps Jesus fresh in our minds as we read other parts of the Bible. You might be surprised at what you discover when you try this.

 

Learning to Pray

I once heard someone say that if you wanted to learn how to pray, read Psalms. The Psalms are also useful in learning about worship, the character of God and how He relates to us. Read the Psalms aloud if you can.

Consider them in light of Matthew 6:9-13 (the Lord’s Prayer)… remember the disciples didn’t say ‘teach us to preach.’ They said ‘teach us to pray.’

Whenever I feel like my prayer life needs a boost, I spend some time in Psalms.

Developing Wisdom

The Book of Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes, are great studies of wisdom from God’s perspective, and will help you in earning to deal with life and people. It was Proverbs 17:28 that taught me to keep my mouth shut unless I had something useful to say, and when I’ having difficulty dealing with people, Proverbs is often where I go in the Bible.

 

Intensive or Specific Study Approaches

 

Character Context Study. For this I may take something like Exodus, and then look up all references to Moses outside of the Pentateuch to gain a understanding of the principal character of the book, why God used him, and what his life and record mean for us in the New Testament era. In such a study I might also do some research on the history of the time to see what was happening both among God’s people and in the world at large at the time.

 

Topical Study. This type of study can go on for years. I may take a topic, like prophecy, for example, and study its history, study the individuals associate with that topic in the Bible, go through every OT scripture reference to that subject, and then see what the NT has to say about it. I do this because the early apostles taught from what we call the OT. Most of the NT hadn’t been written until decades after Acts chapter 1.

This can also be done in reverse: Find a topic in the NT, and then research the OT passages which correspond in order to understand where the NT writers were coming from. For example, on the subject of prophecy, there are 144 NT references to the subject, 123 of which are references to the OT.

 

Verse by verse study. In this approach, I might take the Epistle to the Romans and examine it verse by verse, searching throught scripture, historical references and so on to get a better picture of what is being said. Take your time, consider each verse, and think of it in relationship to the rest of scripture. Consider questions such as, If Jesus says something in one verse, where else did He discuss it? Did the apostles say anything further in their epistles? Who is it being said to? When? Where? Why?That’s pretty much it. I’ve never used commentaries much, so I can’t recommend any in particular, but I will close by saying that we should approach the study of the Bible prayerfully, reverently, and with both an earnest desire and expectation that He will speak to us.

 

Other resources:

1. Youtube has a lot of great recordings of people such as Leonard Ravenhill, AW Tozer, Derek Prince and others that you may find helpful.

2. The Sword Project – free bible software